Campaign signs from Fairfax County in 2015. Image by Ser Amantio di Nicolao licensed under Creative Commons.

This past year, our stellar volunteer Elections Committee analyzed and endorsed dozens of candidates around the region in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. In 2019, the local elections we’ll be watching are in Virginia—can you help us write about them?

Races to watch in Northern Virginia next year

In 2019, elections take place for both the Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates. While candidates in those positions don’t always have the most direct impacts on our local issues, the higher-level policy decisions they make (such as funding transit and policies for state roads) absolutely affect how our neighborhoods and transit systems function. Localities in Virginia need state approval before enacting many local policies or taxing themselves to pay for infrastructure.

In Arlington, two County Board members are up for re-election: current chair Katie Cristol, and Christian Dorsey. Perhaps the biggest potential shakeup is in Fairfax County, where a number of county supervisors have not, as of writing, made clear their intentions to run again. That means that there could be a number of competitive races.

The boards of supervisors for Prince William, Loudoun, and other counties are also up and may have important contests. There are a few other jurisdictions with elections in 2019, such as Rockville and Gaithersburg.

We want to make our political coverage and endorsements even greater

Greater Greater Washington has often published articles about candidates for office and made endorsements. (Since we are a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, we can do that!) We're proud of the endorsements we've made (in most cases) and proud of steering urbanist voters toward the best candidates and the ones who can beat bad-on-urbanism competitors.

This past year, our Elections Committee did yeoman’s work to analyze more than 130 candidates in competitive races—everyone from top county officials in Maryland and Virginia to hyper-local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners in DC. Our coverage of these races cumulatively had more than 300,000 pageviews.

Since 2019 is an off-election year for most places (except for those named above), we want our Elections Committee to transition to a team of political beat writers. Do you scan the news for updates on local Virginia races regularly? Or, do you want to dig into Virginia politics in a big way this year?

If that sounds like you, we invite you to apply for our 2019 Election Committee. We’ll continue to recommend endorsements for top urbanist candidates, but our main goal will be increasing our coverage and analysis of these races on the blog.

You can fill out this application form to let us know your interest. Our staff and a group of volunteers will review the applications. The committee appointments will be formally approved by the Board of Directors in December, and the term will start in January.

You also probably want to know what's expected of you! Here's what we ask of all the members:

  • Participate in a kick-off and blog training event in January
  • Join monthly conference calls or evening in-person meetings throughout the year
  • Write one blog article a month from February to June about the primary
  • Write one article between June and November for the general election
  • If we decide to write candidate profiles, meet with candidates to interview them

Other notes about who we are looking to recruit to the Elections Committee:

  • Live in or work in Virginia, or another jurisdiction with elections in 2019
  • Not serve in or run for an executive or legislative office in 2019
  • Not make public endorsements, donate to campaigns, volunteer, or work for candidates in any of the races we'll be endorsing in until after our endorsements come out (and then, feel free)
  • Not work at a job where doing this stuff is illegal, against your employer's policies, or would imperil your employer's tax status in any way

It's a plus for people to have experience with Virginia politics (volunteering, working, writing, advocating, etc.) and who reflect the diversity of our region.

Does all that sound good? Then apply for our committee today! Questions? Post them in the comments or email me - dwhitehead@ggwash.org.

David Whitehead is the Housing Program Organizer at Greater Greater Washington.  A former high school math teacher and a community organizer, David works to broaden and deepen Greater Greater Washington’s efforts to make the region more livable and inclusive through education, advocacy and organizing. He lives in Edgewood.